How did you end up in adult industry?
I ended up with this business through personal need. So, I had an idea for a product, I had the idea for many years because I personally like stimulation to the tip of the penis. I thought I would go and buy a sex toy online that does this, and I was amazed to find that the male market had actually very little choice of products and nothing with technology. And my idea had technology. The existing products were fake vaginas, masturbation sleeves, but nothing worked using the same concept that I had in mind. Then I thought that the sex toy market is a pretty big market, I could design this product and it could be very successful. Since this market is so big, I could make a lot of money. I decided that I would try to create my product, stick with my job, and if I realized it didn’t work out, I would leave it and go on with my work. We started creating this product and, as it turned out, it was incredibly successful! And at that point, I left my job and I did it full time to create my sex toy company. With the first product being the world-wide success!
So, you are that rare type of person who came to this industry deliberately, aren’t you? Was it a conscious step?
I always wanted to have my own business. I wanted to be my boss and master of my own destiny. If I worked hard, I would benefit, not someone else would just pay me a salary. I always looked at different opportunities-art studio in London, it didn’t work out. I was always thinking: “It’s a good idea”. I had decided from very long time ago, but I thought it was a stupid idea. And one day I decided: “Well, maybe it is not such a stupid idea!” But I thought it was never going to be successful. But still, I must try it! Just like other businesses that I started. It just so happened that it was one that was very successful. It was luck that I ended up in this industry. I love the industry as well. My hobby is my career now.
Please, tell our readers about your brand and its history once again.
My brand is called Hot Octopuss. It was founded in 2013. It is not true, actually. It was founded in 2011. It took us almost three years to develop the first product. So, we launched Pulse which was three years in development, which is a male vibrator, ‘guybrator’ as we call it. It was launched in September, 2013 to the US market. And this product has been a global success, it means that we had funs to develop additional products. The thing about Hot Octopuss is that it is all about innovation, so we won’t just create the same products that everyone else does, under the Hot Octopuss brand. We really want to innovate, invent and create such products for the market that never existed before, use technologies from outside the industry-the medical space, even materials that are not traditionally used in the sex toy space, in order to really innovate and invent products. I made something quite unusual, the majority of brands tend to create versions of something that already exists on the market. We are actually trying to create new categories. Our products don’t fit anyone else because they are so new, innovative! The ethos of the brand is to invent products rather than to re-invent them.
Do your family and your beloved ones approve what you do?
My grandma thinks this is the best thing she has ever heard! The rest of my family… You know, when I was doing both jobs at the same time, it was fine, but when I decided to quit my job to do this full time, they thought I was crazy. I had a very successful job, doing very well and suddenly I left it all because I wanted to become a sex toy entrepreneur. It took a while for people to believe in me, and then, when the product was successful and the company was successful, I started to do more money than I did in my old job, they realized it was a great idea. But until then people were skeptical about my life choices.
It is your first time taking part in an event like this? Do you like this type of format?
Certainly, in Russia, I do like this format. It is not the first show I‘ve been to of this format. They run one in the USA, an event company called Xbiz. And I did Xbiz which is of a very similar format. But I am a huge fun of this format. Because I believe in an one-to-one time with the buyers, and the atmosphere is special. Especially, if you have products that do require explaining, it is a much more conducive environment and conversations than in a big exhibition with hundreds of people walking past and you recognize someone and you come and say hello in the middle of the meeting. So, I think this is a brilliant format. It is great for both the buyers and the sellers like ourselves.
Please, share your impressions of the event’s organizational work made by ‘Astkol-Alfa’ and your collaboration with this company.
This is the first event we’ve done with Astkol. It is our first event in Russia. We’ve been approached by a number of different distributors but after meeting the people and seeing their passion for the industry and for the people they cooperate with, it is seen like a really good fit. So far, it has been a great show. But I don’t know how good it has been because I don’t understand what everyone says. At the end of the show, I guess, we will recap with Astkol and see if they are going to actually buy our products or they just like meeting me and like me learning about them. Unfortunately, although this has been a great show, I love meeting everyone, you know, it is business. And the show is really successful if it means that we’ve managed to create some kind of story in the Russian market. And these customers of Astkol want to buy our product. In this case, it is a very successful show. Otherwise, if it doesn’t happen, it was a great fun of show either way.
Do you have a few words for your future customers in Russia?
They are very lucky people!
Do you need promotion or help from our portal?
You can end up being the successful partner of the brand. When we launched Pulse I in 2013, the reason why the product was so successful is the media coverage that the product got. That meant that reviewers started reviewing the product and I have to some extent, reinvented male masturbation. We, as the male race, have been masturbating for millennia, it is now changed, we no longer need a stroker, we have a product that works in a way that is intuitive; in theory, in paper, it shouldn’t work, so a lot of people just don’t believe it. The same was when we launched the first product and the media got behind it which meant that bloggers and reviewers were interested and they would review the product and Hallelujah, it did work! This was a fantastic product and of course more people wanted to be involved and the retailers heard about it and asked to stock our product and this chain got larger and made the product and the brand grow and become successful. And I feel the only way to replicate this success of the product and the brand in Russia is the same way: to get media, to hear and write about it, to get people excited about it and get everyone interested and covering it. It would be great to work with people I know as close! With you.
You are always welcome!